Configuring Software

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One of the most important tools when working with your laser is the graphics software. Each software package offers different features and ease of use. First, consider what products you will creating on your laser and make sure the software has the necessary features to meet your needs. Most graphics software falls into two categories; vector/line editors, or raster/bitmap graphics editors. Vector editors tend to better for graphic design, plaque layout, text, logos and clip art and technical illustrations.

Note: ULS laser systems are not postscript devices and therefore are not compatible with PostScript fonts. Use True type fonts

ULS Windows Printer Driver will work with a wide variety of Windows based graphic software to create laser jobs through the Windows Print System. Every effort has been made to make the printing process as seamless as possible, however, to get the best results when printing through the ULS Windows Printer Driver, you should be aware of a few general guidelines for all software as well as some specific notes regarding some of the more popular Windows software for printing to the laser system.

CorelDRAW

Configuring CorelDRAW with the ULS print driver. CorelDRAW 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 will work with the ULS system with the proper operating systems. Go to Corel.com for computer specifications for your particular computer. Version 8 & 9 not recommended for XP and 2000, and Version 12 requires XP or 2000.

Note: CorelDRAW products have a color matching feature which interferes with the proper mapping of colors in graphics being printed with colors in the printer driver. Make sure to turn color matching feature off when using CorelDraw.

Color Palette
MDColorPalette [ZIP]

AutoCAD

Note: AutoCAD version 2000 is not compatible with ULS laser systems. You must upgrade to version 2000i or higher.

Vector output
Line widths for printing from AutoCAD products are controlled by plot styles. Make sure you set the first eight pens in the plot style you use to .001” (.0254 mm) or less in order to ensure vector objects are output.

Placement of Graphics
The easiest way to control placement of graphics in the processing field when using AutoCAD is to create a non-printing rectangle with a width and height equal to the processing field in your laser system. Then print using the Print Window feature and use the Pick Tool to pick the upper left and lower right corners of the rectangle as the Print Window. You can then treat the upper left corner of the rectangle as the zero-zero point in the processing field and lay out your graphics inside the rectangle as desired. Make sure you print with a 1:1 scale and make the plotter margins zero in the print setup screen. Also make sure plotter offsets are set to zero.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator CS or CS2

Illustrator versions CS and CS2 do not properly support non square landscape pages. For this reason, in order to print effectively from these programs you must set up your page size as landscape and make the width and height both equal to the largest dimension of your laser system’s processing field. For example, if your processing field is 24” wide x 12” tall, make the page in Illustrator 24” x 24” landscape. You can then treat the upper left corner of the illustrator page as the zero-zero point in the laser system processing field and only use the upper half of the page in illustrator. Anything in the lower half of the page will not be printed. Also make sure you are using an RGB color palette and the vector line stroke width is set to .001” (.0254 mm) or less.

Adobe Illustrator CS3 and higher

Illustrator versions CS3 and higher treat landscape page sizes correctly, but make sure you select user defined page size at time of printing and make sure the page size in Illustrator matches the page size in the printer driver. Also make sure you are using an RGB color palette and the vector line stroke width is set to .001” (.0254 mm) or less.

Solidworks

When using 3D solid modeling software such as Solidworks, you must keep in mind that the laser system is a 2D device, so you must create a 2D drawing view of the object you want to laser process. You cannot print 3D parts and assemblies directly to the laser system.

To control placement of your job on the processing table in the laser system, use a custom page size and make it the same size as your laser system’s material processing area. Make sure to remove any drawing templates and borders from the page or they will print also and be part of your laser job. Once your page size is set, match the material processing area in the laser system. Treat the upper left corner of the page as equivalent to the zero-zero point in the processing field of the laser system. Solidworks does not give you the ability to precisely position sketch elements on the page, so you can use the relocate feature in the UCP to more precisely position your job
once you have printed them.

Set the thickness for the thin line font in document properties to .001” (.0254 mm) or less to force thin lines to be output as vector objects. Then assign all line segments in the drawing view the thin line font and change colors as necessary to map to colors in the printer driver. If you are using the materials database, driver tab remember that all vector cut objects must be red and all vector mark objects blue.
SPECIAL NOTE: If printing at image density 6 and 7, Solidworks will not print sketch entities assigned the color black as vector objects regardless of line thickness. Avoid the color black if you want a sketch element to print as a vector object at image density 6 and 7. At lower image densities this is not a problem.

ULS Laser Systems Solidworks Vector Path Printing Setup [PDF]